This page explains what you can expect from Environmental Health, which is run as a Shared Service between Rother and Wealden District Councils. Whether you are running a business, are an employee or a member of the public, we are committed to providing you with an efficient, courteous and helpful service and this page tells you how we aim to do that and what standards we will meet.
What does our Environmental Health Service Do?
We deliver services in the following areas:
- Food Safety. This includes hygiene standards, food safety, imported food, food related illnesses, the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and training.
- Health and Safety in workplaces where work related activity affect the public and we are the enforcing authority rather than the Health and Safety Executive.
- Licensing of alcohol, animal welfare, regulated entertainment, gambling and taxis.
- Environmental Protection. This includes air quality, contaminated land, drainage,waste and noise.
- Public Health in relation to infectious diseases and filthy and verminous premises.
We make a fundamental contribution to the maintenance and improvement of public health, quality of life and wellbeing. Our priorities are to:
- Protect the public, businesses and the environment from harm.
- Support the local economy to grow and prosper.
We determine our activities each year by assessing the needs of local people and our local business community, and considering the risks that require addressing. We do this by using data and other information available to us and our partners to ensure our resources are targeted appropriately, in the light of these local needs and of national priorities.
For full details please see our:
- Guide to Environmental Health Service
- Food Safety Service Plan
- Health and Safety Service Plan
- Our Public Health Work.
We are committed to being transparent in our activities and publish our performance data annually. Our latest performance data is available at Environmental Health’s Performance.
How we work
We carry out all our activities in a way that supports those we regulate to comply and grow.
We ensure that information and guidance is available to help those we regulate to meet their statutory obligations. Where you need advice that is tailored to your particular needs and circumstances we seek to provide this. We may have to charge a reasonable fee. We welcome the opportunity to discuss being a primary authority for your business.
We use a risk based approach to target our resources, including in planning how we monitor and check compliance with statutory requirements.
We deal proportionately with breaches of the law as set out in our Enforcement Policy, including taking firm enforcement action when necessary.
Our service will be delivered in accordance with the requirements of the Regulator’s Code (external link).
Working with businesses and others we regulate
In all your dealings with us you expect, and will receive, an efficient and professional service. Our team of officers will:
- Be courteous and polite.
- Always identify themselves by name in dealings with you, and provide you with contact details.
- Seek to gain an understanding of how your business operates and the pressures you face.
- Provide details of how to discuss any concerns you may have.
- If we can, agree timescale, expectations and preferred methods of communication with you.
- Ensure that you are kept informed of progress on any outstanding issues.
We recognise that your business will receive advice and inspections from other organisations, and we will do our best to work with them to ensure that you receive the best service.
Helping you to get it right
We want to work with you to help your business be a success, and it is important to us that you feel able to come to us for advice when you need it. We won’t take enforcement action just because you tell us that you have a problem, unless there is a risk to public health or safety.
Where you need advice to help you meet your legal obligations we will:
- Provide advice that supports compliance and that can be relied on.
- Provide advice that is appropriate for your circumstances and is not overly burdensome.
- Provide clear advice that can be easily understood and implemented.
- Distinguish legal requirements from suggested good practice.
- Ensure that any verbal advice you receive is confirmed in writing if requested
- Acknowledge good practice and compliance.
Inspections and other compliance visits
We monitor and support compliance in a number of different ways including through inspections, sampling visits, test purchases, advisory visits and complaint investigations. These visits will normally be based on an assessment of risk. We will give you notice that we intend to visit unless we believe that an unannounced visit is required or is more appropriate.
When we visit you our officers will:
- Explain the reason and purpose of the visit.
- Carry their identification card at all times, and present it on request when visiting your premises.
- Exercise discretion in front of your customers and staff.
- Have regard to how you approach compliance within your business, and use this information to inform future interactions with you.
- Provide advice to support you in meeting your statutory obligations, if required.
- Provide a written record of the visit.
Responding to Non-Compliance
Where we identify any failure to meet legal obligations, we will respond proportionately, taking account of the circumstances, in line with our Enforcement Policy.
Where we require you to take action to remedy any failings we will:
- Explain the nature of the non-compliance.
- Advise you what is required to achieve compliance, taking into account your circumstances.
- Clearly explain any advice, actions required or decisions that we have taken.
- Discuss time scales that are acceptable to both you and us, in relation to any actions required.
- Provide in writing details of how to appeal against any advice provided, actions required or decisions taken, including any statutory rights to appeal.
- Explain what will happen next, including any time scales.
- Keep in touch with you, where required, until the matter is resolved.
Requests for our Service
We respond to requests for assistance that we receive, including requests for advice and complaints about breaches of the law. We will:
- Acknowledge your request within 5 working days.
- Tell you when you can expect a substantive response.
- Seek to fully understand the nature of your request.
- Explain what we may or may not be able to do, so that you know what to expect.
- Keep you informed of progress throughout our involvement.
- Provide clear advice where appropriate.
- Inform you of the outcome as appropriate.
How to contact us
Use our contact form which can be found at the bottom of this page.
If you contact us we will ask you for your name and contact details to enable us to keep in touch with you as the matter progresses. We treat all contact with the service in confidence unless you have given us permission to share your details with others as part of the matter we are dealing with on your behalf or there is an operational or legal reason why we need to do so.
We do not normally accept anonymous complaints.
We have a dedicated team of officers who have the appropriate qualifications, skills and experience to deliver the services provided. We have arrangements in place to ensure the ongoing professional competency of all officers.
Where specialist knowledge is required in an area outside of our expertise we have arrangements in place, with both neighbouring authorities and other regulatory organisations, to call on additional resources as necessary.
Working with others
Our Environmental Health Service works closely with other Council services such as Planning and Economic Development and our aim is to provide a streamlined services to you.
We have good working relationships with other regulators such as the Fire Service, Police, Trading Standards, the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency, and this enables us to deliver a more joined up and consistent service. This includes sharing information and data on compliance and risk, where the law allows, to help target regulatory resources.
Having your say
Complaints and appeals
We are always willing to discuss with you the reasons why we have acted in a particular way, or asked you to act in a particular way. You can contact:
- Mr R Parker-Harding, Head of Service, email@example.com
- Ms C Beaumont, Deputy Head of Service, firstname.lastname@example.org
We manage complaints about our service through the Corporate Complaints Procedure.
We value input from you to help us ensure our service is meeting your needs. We would like to hear from you whether your experience of us has been good or in need of improvement. This helps us to ensure we keep doing the right things and make changes where we need to. We use customer satisfaction surveys from time to time but we would welcome your feedback at any time.